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Working and studying pays off

By Robert Herrera | Pulse Staff Reporter

Work Study

Working and attending Palo Alto College as a full-time student is no easy task, but there is one option that many students overlook or don’t know about.

The work-study program offered through Financial Aid at Palo Alto is a great way to earn some extra cash while dashing through college. Whether you’re working behind a desk, dealing with financial aid or welcoming students, the outcome will be an experience to remember. Work-study offers real-world job experience as well as one foot in the door for a possible long-term job. Most important of all, work-study income does not get calculated against you for next year’s financial aid award.

Clarissa Obregon, a full-time Kinesiology major and work-study, can be found in Palo Alto’s Office of Student Engagement and Retention. Working 30 hours every two weeks at $7.25 an hour is a perfect combination for Obregon, who hopes to get a position as a peer educator in the same office with a little extra pay.

“Working in the Office of Student Engagement is a blast!” said Obregon. “We give out free stuff and help students find their way around…we interact with lots of students, so I meet a lot of people, which I love to do! My co-workers are awesome, and I’ve grown close to them. I was so lucky to get hired there.”

Students who have entered the work-study program go into it thinking of only one thing: money. Money is nice, but these student workers become attached to their departments, meet countless amounts of people and get to know the inside scoop of what makes Palo Alto College tick.

Palo Alto work-study students could be waiting tables making a bit more, but the benefits of working on campus often outweigh an off-campus environment, especially with gas prices at a record high.

Approximately 150 work-study positions are available throughout the many departments on campus, from Student Retention and Engagement, Financial Aid, Student Affairs, Center for Academic Transitions, Counseling Department, Math Department, English Department and more. Seventeen positions are currently available in Palo Alto’s work-study program.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for students to earn funding toward their educational expenses and gain professional experience, which will build up their resume,” said Lamar Duarte, director of Student Financial Services. “Students also create a track record of employment and references.”

Students must inquire with the Financial Aid to determine your financial need and eligibility for the work-study program. If eligible for a work-study postion, you must apply through Peoplelink at and the CAT Center will assist you if you have questions with the work-study application process. Applications can be completed online at by selecting the jobs link on the left and creating a job application on the following page. Students must be enrolled in at least six hours of classes and have Palo Alto listed as your home school in order to qualify for a work-study position.

Don’t worry about interfering with your class time. The work-study program is designed to accommodate your schedule. At Palo Alto College, your employers understand that you are a student first and that work comes second.

“I like the flexible hours most. All my work time is scheduled around my classes, and I’m happy about that,” said Pete Ortiz, a full-time student work-study who works with the Financial Aid Department. “Not only did I take the job for financial reasons, but I wanted the work experience working with financial need students.”

Work-study also teaches students essential work values and gives them an understanding of the real world, which has a lasting effect.

“My work study is teaching me to not just work for the money but to work for the well-being of others and to work from the heart,” said Obregon. “Fate works in mysterious ways, and somehow I ended up here, and I’m happy with every moment. It’s just great!”